Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned Iran from importing of American Pfizer-BioNTech and Britain’s Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccines on Friday, news agency AP reported. The action of the leader is being seen as a reflection of mistrust toward the West. The AP report further adds that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the import of American and British vaccines were “forbidden,” referring to the surging death tolls from the virus in both countries. Also Read - COVID-19 Vaccination: 23 Elderly Patients Dead in Norway After Receiving Pfizer Vaccine, Probe Underway
“I really do not trust,” them, Khamenei said of those nations. “Sometimes they want to test” their vaccines on other countries, adding, “I am not optimistic (about) France,” either. Also Read - Is Vaccinating Doctors First The Safe Move as India Begins to Vaccinate Its 3 Crore Health Workers Against COVID-19?
Iran has struggled to stem the worst virus outbreak in the Middle East. Khamenei’s statement reflects decades of tense relations between Iran and the West which have not abated in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s presidency. Concerns ran especially high in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 3 one-year anniversary of the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general in Iraq. Also Read - PM Modi Launches Nationwide COVID-19 Vaccination Drive, 3 Lakh Health Workers to Get First Shot | LIVE Updates
A series of moves this week appeared aimed at increasing Iran’s leverage before Democrat Joseph Biden Jr. becomes president on January 20.
During his 50-minute speech Friday, Khamenei addressed the transition of power in the U.S. by mocking American politics after a violent mob loyal to Trump overran the Capitol building in Washington.
“This is their democracy; this is their elections’ situation,” Khamenei said, smirking, during his address. He suggested the U.S. was being paid back for inciting tensions in Iran in 2009, after its election.
Khamenei also said the West should bring the end to “hostile and traitorous” sanctions against Iran and supported Iran’s regional influence and missile program.
(With AP Inputs)